Secondhand shopping for vintage clothes, shoes and accessories is definitely one of my favourite things to do. I used to have a lot more time to do this as a student, but it’s a different story now. As with most people, window shopping has been slowly replaced by web browsing. I have been an ebay devotee for 6 years with majority of my 100+ transactions being the buying and selling of clothes and accessories. These are the 5 things I think everyone should know to enhance their ebay experience.
Buying on eBay
1. Buy off season
Sure, secondhand is cheaper, but you get an much better deal if you buy out of season. By this, I mean things like coats and snow gear should be bought in summer, and vice versa for surfboards and summer dresses in winter. I have bought cashmere coats in the middle of summer, with myself being the only bidder. Definitely requires foresight, but if you are buying classic items, it’s a good thing to keep in mind.
2. Know your favourite brands
The pitfall of online shopping is that there is no fitting room. It’s a wild guess at the best of times, especially when it comes to things like pants and suits. You can minimize ill fitting purchases if you know what size you are in your favourite brands. Go to the physical store and figure out what size you are, as fashion houses tend to use the same measurements for their range. By knowing which brand’s sizing is for you, you can best avoid disappointment
3. Setup a favourites search
Save yourself time and setup a favourites search on ebay. You can have ebay email you auction items that fit your criteria. For example, if you have figured out your favourite brand and size in tip 2, make a favourite search and let ebay do the work for you. You can know about new items straight away and place your bid asap, or better yet, snap it up quickly if there’s a Buy it Now option.
4. Search in description
Unfortunately, not everyone can spell, nor can they put crucial item information on the title of their auction. The size, brand, material (eg leather), colour, etc are all essential information on which you’ll be basing your search query. You can improve your search results by ticking the “Include title and description” box which appears below the search button in ebay. This searches the item description for your keywords, ensuring you don’t miss out on auctions which have the features you are looking for.
5. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request additional photos. Sellers can inadvertently leave out details which could greatly influenced your purchase decision. When buying shoes, it’s good to ask for a photo of the sole, so you can see how much wear it has had.
Selling on eBay
1. Importance of photos and gallery picture
Make sure you take good photos and enough of them to give the buyer a good idea of colour and condition of your item. Have a look at how fashion magazines photograph clothes and shoes when they are not on a model, and you can imitate this to look more professional.
It’s definitely worth inserting a gallery picture for your listing as well, which means that a photo of your item shows up in the search listing. People are fundamentally lazy so if they have to go an extra click to view your item, you can lose a big chunk of potential buyers.
2. Descriptions and measurements
Keep your description simple, in point form. It’s a good idea to include measurements, not only because it’s handy for the buyer, but it saves your from having to answer lots of questions during the auction period! Make sure you insert the brand name (if it’s a branded item), material it’s made from and any faults. For unique, quirky items you can put in a styling tip, but this is up to you.
3. It’s all about timing
Try to have your auction end in the evening, when people are more likely to be in a position to be able to bid on your item. I like to try to time my auctions to end on Sunday evenings, to maximize the number of last minute bidding.
4. Auction end date
You should also remember the seasonality rule when selling, and save things to auction off in the correct season. I have actually seen a secondhand foam surfboard go for a higher price than new on ebay, in the week leading up to summer school holidays.
5. Leave feedback
Part of being a good ebayer is to leave feedback. It’s encouraged to thank good buyers and hopefully get on their favourite sellers list. It’ll encourage them to leave a positive feedback for your as well.